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Time to lift governance in the aged care sector: Governance Institute launches updated guidance to assist embattled industry

Faced with devastating fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing scrutiny by a royal commission, it’s time for boards in the aged care sector to place a sharp focus on governance in a bid to prevent future missteps, the CEO of Governance Institute of Australia has said today.

“We are seeing a sector that is grappling with a heavy impact from the pandemic as well as the ongoing spotlight from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety,” CEO Megan Motto said.

“This is welcome scrutiny for a sector that is responsible for the care of some of society’s most vulnerable — and there is no excuse for future missteps.”

Ms Motto said Governance Institute has revised and today relaunched its guide to help the embattled sector navigate an increasingly complex set of regulatory and operational challenges.

“Our guidance that we are relaunching today will assist current and future board members as scrutiny and demands on the aged care sector continue to increase,” Ms Motto said.

She said the guidance is “mandatory reading” for anyone currently on the board of an aged care provider — whether they are new in the role or not — as well as anyone considering taking on a board position.

Changes incorporated in the revised guidance include the latest statistics on the industry showing its growth and likely further increases, a copy of the Aged Care Quality Standards, plus new content on clinical governance.

The relaunched aged care governance guidance covers:

  • The unique challenges of governance in a changing aged care sector, including:
    • a more competitive environment with less reliable funding from government.
    • the user-pays system. As consumers are required to pay more, they will become more demanding as to the type and standard of care they receive.
    • many consumers are entering aged care much later in life with increasingly complex health care needs. Consequently, their medical and clinical care needs are more complex and acute.
  • Issues which a board should consider when inviting a new member onto the board of an aged care provider.
  • Issues you should consider before accepting an invitation to join the board of an aged care provider.
  • A checklist of information a potential board member should receive or request
  • A look at the stakeholders of an aged care provider — and ways to interact and build relationships.

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